This week in the world of self-publishing:
“There was a time when a small, independent movie studio was looked down upon by the industry,” writes Bud Simpson in this June 10th article for the Logan Daily News. “Because it was produced with a small budget and, most of the time, unknown actors, it was considered an inferior product.” He goes on to draw comparisons between the indie film engine and self-publishing, noting that while indie film has reached critical acclaim and a kind of legitimacy within the larger movie industry, self-publishing has not achieved the same thing within the world of traditional publishing. “It still ‘don’t get no respect!'” he declares, quoting American stand-up comedian Rodney Dangerfield. What follows is a litany of self-publishing successes as well as a list of blockbuster successes (in traditional publishing, at least) which began with plentiful rejection slips. Simpson makes a convincing case for self-publishing as a tool worth considering; check out his complete article here.
As a presenting panelist for the Bay Area Book Festival, Brooke Warner was recently confronted with the question: “A question surfaced from the audience: Do some people avoid self-publishing because they don’t qualify for awards?” as she recounts in this June 10 piece for HuffPost Books. One of her fellow presenters, with the best intentions, responded with a statement that awards are open to self-published works–and what follows shows just how much misinformation is out there. “I almost felt bad to have to inform him of his industry’s bias,” writes Warner: “that no, you can’t just submit, and that countless awards programs bar self-published authors (and any author, in fact, who’s invested in their own work) from entering.” As founder of an author-subsidized publishing model, Warner serves as a lightning rod for those looking to define their work as something more than a less-respectable ripoff of traditional publishing. She writes:
As independent authors and publishers, we need to repair a broken system, and we can’t do that by trying to “pass” as traditionally published authors in order to benefit only ourselves. When one indie author rises, we all rise. When one awards program or review outlet lifts their ban on self-published authors, others take notice, and eventually the measure of author-subsidization as a way to determine which books are worthy will fall. To me, this is the goal, to level the playing field in an industry that is hellbent on keeping self-published authors contained and separate.
To that end, she presents a list of five ways authors can better advocate for themselves. I won’t repeat them here, as they really shine in full context. You can catch Warner’s full article by following the link!
In this current political climate–in America at least–the battle lines are so clearly drawn and the arguments so rife with strong emotion that you can well imagine people are on the hunt for new ways to express their (very strong) opinions. As Kim-Mai Cutler details in this June 9 article for Tech Crunch, that demand is soon to be filled by at least one new entry into the increasingly crowded–and specialized!–self-publishing world. You may already have heard of OpenVote, a political startup from software powerhouses Bobby Goodlatte and Sean McCann. Now OpenVote is “unveiling a larger publishing platform where people can debate policies and pledge their votes,” as Cutler puts it: “OpenVote comes out of the concern that political communication hasn’t really evolved or been fully translated into online or social networking mediums. People see news stories, they get enraged, but that doesn’t exactly translate into votes or political commitments.” In other words, OpenVote is looking to boost voter turnout amongst undervoting groups, particularly the tech-savvy “Millennials.” How are they going to do this? Says Cutler, “Think Medium, but centered around politics and with widgets that let you pledge and recruit votes. Goodlatte brought on different political bloggers to do hot takes on issues like marijuana legalization or the 2016 presidential race.” The hope is to to use the controversial issues to draw users in, and then present them with more curated, more neutral content to promote actual conversation and long-term engagement. For now it looks as though the material published will mostly be in thinkpiece essay formats, but watch this space! As a startup, OpenVote may eventually diversify into publishing longer formats. If you write politically-charged or reflective material, this might provide an opportunity for you in the future.
As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.
ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.